Stephanie Mrosek knows what it feels like to struggle.
She also knows what it feels like to succeed.
Six years ago, Mrosek, then 22, left a bartending job in Puerto Rico to
move to Florida. But things didn’t go quite as planned. Within a year, she
found herself in an abusive relationship, unemployed—and pregnant.
“I knew that getting an education was my only hope for improving my life,
but fear and procrastination really got in my way,” Mrosek remembers. “I
was also in default on previous student loans and had very little money, so
I didn’t see a way out. I kept telling myself that the time just wasn’t
right. But I also knew that every day I waited to start making my life
better was a day wasted. I finally decided I was willing to do whatever it
took to make it happen.”
That’s exactly what she did. Mrosek moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to
family and enrolled at Argosy University. With transfer credits, she
completed her BA in Criminal Justice (with a concentration in management
and security management) in just two years. She graduated from the online
program in 2015.
“I wanted to become a probation officer so I could encourage kids to stay
in school and make a better life for themselves, no matter where they come
from,” says Mrosek. “I really believe we each possess the power to change
our lives. No one has to become a statistic.”
As it turned out, Mrosek didn’t need to become a probation officer to
encourage students to excel. While completing her degree, she became an
admissions representative at Argosy.
“When I applied for the job, I didn’t even know the position was at
Argosy,” she says. “After I interviewed and they told me I was hired, I
remember thinking it was the perfect place for me. I could relate to the
students and all the challenges they face, because I’ve been there.”
After three years in admissions, Mrosek became a financial counselor at
Argosy, helping students pursue financial aid, identify scholarship
opportunities, and establish financial plans that make it possible for them
to earn their degrees.
When Mrosek completed her BA, she says she became “obsessed” with the idea
of earning a graduate degree.
“As busy as I was with work and raising my daughter, school provided an
extra challenge that really energized me,” she says. “It also gave me an
added sense of power, control, and accomplishment. I wanted to see how far
I could go.”
She decided to pursue an advanced degree, and in July, Mrosek earned her
Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at Argosy. She hopes to use
her degree in a management position at the university. In the meantime,
she’ll continue counseling students—and sharing her story whenever she
thinks it might help a student conquer his or her self-doubt.
“It’s easy to feel isolated and alone when we’re struggling,” says Mrosek.
“I’ve learned that you can either break down or break out. Someone once
told me that your life is like a vase. When it gets broken, you have a
choice to either let it stay broken or glue the pieces back together and
make it whole again.”
Mrosek says the past six years have taught her that life is all about
growth and change.
“There was a time, not that long ago, when my future didn’t look so
bright,” Mrosek says. “But in six years, I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree
and a master’s degree. I have a job I love, helping people pursue their own
dreams. I’m in a wonderful relationship with a supportive man and have a
second child. I’m proof that where you start doesn’t have to be where you
finish. You are not your past.” ###